philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology

16May/19Off

Facebook is on a hiring tear for its Augmented Reality (AR) team

An ongoing search for 140 professionals with expertise in AR isn't a blip; it's a concerted effort by Facebook to figure out and execute the technology as part of a larger effort, most likely related to the company's Spark AR augmented reality platform that is a potential revenue source when it comes to advertising and product placement.

The vast majority of Facebook's AR hires are being done at its Menlo Park, CA headquarters followed by Redmond, Washington.

See the full story here: https://media.thinknum.com/articles/facebook-is-on-a-hiring-tear-for-augmented-reality/

 

 

16May/19Off

St. Thomas Student Creates Virtual Reality Program for Seniors

Before Enzo Vinholi was the CEO of a growing virtual reality startup, he was just a high school student who wanted to do something nice for his grandmother.

“When we talked she would always ask about places in St. Paul we used to visit together, like the cathedral and Grand Avenue,” Vinholi said. “You can send photos of those places, but it’s not the same as being there.”

Vinholi started his company, Like It Was Yesterday, as a senior in high school. Now a rising junior in the Schulze College of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas, Vinholi spends most nights continuing to build his company, which designs virtual reality programs for senior citizens living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Like It Was Yesterdays’s programs are designed to improve the quality of life for seniors suffering from conditions ranging from limited mobility and Arthritis to Alzheimer’s disease. The company offers more than 1,000 hours of virtual reality programming for users seeking to recreate a variety of memories and life experiences. Users can revisit favorite vacation spots, cities where they used to live, even the place where they had their first kiss decades earlier.

See the full story here: https://www.americaninno.com/minne/twin-cities-startup/st-thomas-student-creates-virtual-reality-program-for-seniors/

15May/19Off

Nomadic rolls out new mixed reality arcade in Las Vegas with Area15

nomadicThe attraction will operate two play-spaces that occupy a total of 6,000 square feet of the 200,000 square foot complex, located close to Area15’s anchor tenant, the art collaborative Meow Wolf.

The place will host immersive “mixed reality” experiences that combine virtual reality with movie-like set designs. The place will host VR games such as Arizona Sunshine: Contagion Z and Arizona Sunshine: Rampage (both in coordination with partner Vertigo Games).

See the full story here: https://venturebeat.com/2019/05/15/nomadic-rolls-out-new-mixed-reality-arcade-in-las-vegas-with-area15/

15May/19Off

DigiLens secures $50M in funding on the path to cheap augmented reality

digilens-product-imageDigiLens Inc., maker of holographic waveguide technology for augmented reality devices, today announced it has raised $50 million in a new funding round.

New partners in this investment include UDC Ventures, the venture arm of Universal Display Corporation, and Samsung Venture Investment Corp. Others joining include Niantic Inc. — best known for Pokemon Go — Continental AG, Sony Innovation Fund and Diamond Edge Ventures.

See the full story here: https://siliconangle.com/2019/05/14/digilens-secures-50m-funding-path-cheap-augmented-reality/

15May/19Off

Apple CEO Tim Cook Promotes New Statue of Liberty Augmented Reality App

statueofliberty1-1According to the Vogue article on the app, it was created by the Statue of Liberty Foundation and Yap Studio. Its creation took more than a year of scanning and photography, and it offers up a time-lapse view from the statue's eyes, a look inside of it, and a time-lapse of how the color changed over time.

"I met Tim Cook from Apple, and discovered first of all that he had never been to Liberty Island, so I arranged for him to go," DvF revealed. "Not even knowing what I was talking about, I said, 'Wouldn't it be wonderful to give people an Apple experience when they go on the Island?' I met the people who do apps and we started, not knowing where it would all end up. The foundation created this app that will reach hundreds of millions of people. It will be the biggest opening of a museum ever!"

See the full story here: https://www.macrumors.com/2019/05/14/statue-of-liberty-ar-ios-app/

15May/19Off

Stanford scholar Jeremy Bailenson and other researchers found that people’s interactions with a virtual person in augmented reality, or AR, influenced how they behaved and acted in the physical world.

Mark Miller works with lab manager Talia Weiss to run through the experiment during a testing phase.

Mark Miller works with lab manager Talia Weiss to run through the experiment during a testing phase.

For example, people avoided sitting on a chair they had just seen a virtual person sit on. Researchers also found that participants appeared to be influenced by the presence of a virtual person in a similar way they would be if a real person were next to them. These findings are set to publish May 14 in PLOS ONE.

“We’ve discovered that using augmented reality technology can change where you walk, how you turn your head, how well you do on tasks, and how you connect socially with other physical people in the room,” said Bailenson, who co-authored the paper with graduate students Mark Roman Miller, Hanseul Jun and Fernanda Herrera, who are the lead authors.

In recent years, many technology companies have focused on developing augmented reality goggles and other products, shifting away from their previous emphasis on virtual reality, Bailenson said.

To examine how AR affected the way people behaved in social situations, researchers recruited 218 participants and conducted three studies. In the first two experiments, each participant interacted with a virtual avatar named Chris who would sit on a real chair in front of them.

“The fact that not a single one of the subjects with headsets took the seat where the avatar sat was a bit of a surprise,” Bailenson said. “These results highlight how AR content integrates with your physical space, affecting the way you interact with it. The presence of AR content also appears to linger after the goggles are taken off.”

In the third study, researchers examined how AR affects the social connection between two people who are having a conversation while one of them wears an AR headset. Researchers found that those wearing AR goggles reported feeling less socially connected to their conversation partner.

See the full story here: https://news.stanford.edu/2019/05/14/augmented-reality-affects-peoples-behavior-real-world/

14May/19Off

Market Research – High-End VR Activity Increased Significantly in 2018

According to a new report from research firm IDC, consumer interest has waned recently for smartphone-dependent VR devices, while tethered and standalone models are growing more popular. IDC surveyed 1,643 VR users across France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States and learned that the number of “high-performance” VR headsets increased 60 percent from 2017 to 3.9 million devices in 2018. The study identified different categories of users, based on their amount of time spent with VR devices, including a “hardcore” group (12 percent) that spent 16 or more hours monthly with VR.

“As Facebook has suggested, multi-user VR appears to be a major potential selling point for headsets,” notes VB. “In France, a high of 62 percent of VR gamers preferred multiplayer experiences, with the U.S. close behind at 58 percent.”

“France was also the leader in non-gaming VR uses — between a quarter and a third of surveyed French users also tried VR creative apps, social apps, and shopping or browsing apps, even though the numbers were markedly lower in other countries.”

See the full story here: http://www.etcentric.org/study-high-end-vr-activity-increased-significantly-in-2018/

14May/19Off

Adding audio data helps AI navigate 3D mazes

“The use of only visual provides average success rate of 43%. But, the augmentation of visual with raw audio, and visual with pitch provides average success rates of 87% and 86%, respectively,” wrote the researchers. “Similarly, the average required number of steps to reach the target using only visual information is 1420. But, the addition of complementary raw audio and pitch to the visual reduces the number of steps to 751 and 614, respectively.”

The team leaves to future work experiments in different environments and tests other than video games.

See the full story here: https://venturebeat.com/2019/05/13/adding-audio-data-helps-ai-navigate-3d-mazes/

14May/19Off

AI: More than Human invites you to explore our relationship with artificial intelligence.

safe_image.phpThis major centre-wide ‘festival-style’ exhibition explores creative and scientific developments in AI, demonstrating its potential to revolutionise our lives. Bringing together artists, scientists and researchers, this interactive exhibition offers an unprecedented survey of AI with which you are invited to engage head-on.

Experience the capabilities of AI in the form of cutting-edge research projects by DeepMind, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Neri Oxman; and interact directly with exhibits and installations from artists including Mario Klingemann, Massive Attack, Es Devlin and teamLab to experience the possibilities first-hand.

Prepare for your preconceptions of AI to be challenged by this timely exhibition, that reflects on how this technology impacts our very existence.

See the full story here: https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2019/event/ai-more-than-human?fbclid=IwAR13wH6D2wR0RXUeHXq1qcrDvms7RD8vXzoqD0_DXpFd9Pm39KsYeXmIgIM

14May/19Off

Virtual Reality is the Latest Tactic The Army is Using to Recruit

To appeal to today's youth, the Army launched "In Our Boots".

The program uses virtual reality to take recruits onto the battlefield. The visuals are from real people, and the scenarios are actual missions.

Some people feel the app may glamorize the Army because it doesn't portray extreme violence that could come with combat.

See the full story here: https://www.wlns.com/news/virtual-reality-is-the-latest-tactic-the-army-is-using-to-recruit/1999800132